Monday, February 8, 2010

Something in the Water

Let's see, Becky, April, Meghan, Brandy, Kara, Emily, Marla, Katy, who else? I know there are more, I just can't think of them right now.

Pregnant women, you see. All these women I know who are pregnant.

And me? Well, we've been trying for nine months now to conceive number four, and it's just not happening.

*sigh*

I am beginning to understand what the infertile women mean when they say that it hurts to hear about other women's pregnancies.

I realize I can't be classified as "infertile" (not yet, anyway). I realize I am incredibly blessed with the three healthy, intelligent, amazing, beautiful children I already have. I realize that it may just be God's plan for us to have those three and no more, and I'm OK with that.

But that doesn't take away the longing, or the frustration, or the sadness. It doesn't take away the sting when yet another friend announces her pregnancy and posts her positive pregnancy test as her default picture on Facebook.

I've seen enough negative tests in the past nine months to make anyone want to cry.




When my brother-in-law picked up his daughter from my house the other day, we were talking about the kids I keep (besides my own), and he said, "Did it ever occur to you that maybe there is a reason you guys haven't been able to have any more?"


I laughed it off with the response, "Because I'd go crazy?"


I know what he meant...that I was able to care for my nephews and niece, to have the energy and time to keep up with them, because I didn't have any little ones of my own around.

But honestly, that question, totally innocent as it was, stung. The reason we don't have any more is so that I can take care of other people's kids? I love my nephews and niece, but that is not the same as having your own. The reason I don't have any more is for what? Other people's convenience?


I find myself fighting back a growing seed of bitterness. I ask why, God? Why don't we get pregnant?


But I find that what bothers me most is not that we're not getting pregnant, instead it's that we're not...but all these other people are!


Oh, well, as you get older, you become less fertile, people say. But women older than me are pregnant!


Oh, well, if you're overweight, it affects your fertility, people say. But women far more overweight than me are pregnant!


Oh, well, this, and oh, well, that....and still people who should logically be less fertile ARE PREGNANT!


And then, oh, God, I know it's wrong of me, but sometimes I can't help thinking...But God! We're good parents!! I'm a good mom, Tony's a good dad! We raise our children the way the Bible commands, we teach and train them, we love and cherish them, we discipline them, we bake cookies and read stories and go to interesting places with them. We take care of them when they're sick and put Band-Aids on their cuts. We're good parents! Why is it that these parents who are on the verge of ruining the children they already have get to have even more kids when we, who are trying so hard to raise our children the way God says, don't?


Now, please, don't get me wrong, I am not talking about any one specific mom or set of parents here. But in general, all over the world, all through society, horrible parents are having more children and we keep on not getting pregnant!


I don't want anyone to think this is a pity blog, because it's not. I am simply expressing the fact that I am coming to a realization of just how much this can affect a woman, how deep the wounds can go, totally unintentional wounds. I don't mean that I want my pregnant friends to stop talking about their pregnancies or putting up their pics, I just mean that WOW, I am so affected by this in a way I never imagined.


A thought did occur to me today as I was verging on feeling sorry for myself along the lines of how come we're good parents and don't get pregnant while these other people do, and it was like God said to me, "How good a parent were you after the first one? How about the second one? How many did it take before you could truly say you were raising your children as I command? How many did it take before you really started raising them in a godly way?"


Ugh. Oof. Ouch.


Yeah, that would be...umm....after the third one came along.


Not that I was bad parent for the first two, but it was only after Jake came along, after I stopped working and started homeschooling, that I truly began to seek out God's will in the raising of my children.


I'm sure there were plenty of mothers out there before that who could have looked down on me and my parenting tactics. I'm sure there still are some.


I looked up Hannah's story the other day, you know, the one in 1 Samuel:





There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.

......


Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the LORD's temple. In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head."

As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."

"Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman;
I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief."

Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him."

She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.

Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him."

(1 Samuel 1:1-2, 9-20)

I sat back and thought about that story, and I thought, what would Hannah's prayer be like today? I recognize and relate to that anguish and grief she felt, I too cry out from the depths of my soul. Hannah made a promise to God, that if He would bless her with a child, she would give that child back to the Lord. I wonder what that would mean in today's world. We already live with the attitude of giving our children back to God, of knowing that they are really His, not ours, loaned to us for a time to raise up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord". So what would it mean, exactly, to pray Hannah's prayer today? Would it mean simply vowing to continue raising our children in God's way, or would it involve something more? What could that something more be?

If the three children we already have are all God intends us to have, I can live with that, I really can. It's the not knowing that kills me. It's the wondering if there is something keeping that blessing from us (and I don't mean anything physically, I mean spiritually). Is there something in my life that needs to change in order for God to bless us with another child? Is it simply not meant to be, or is it just not meant to be right now?

Whatever happens, I love the children I already have and they are enough, if God intends it that way. I fight against the bitterness and in spite of it, I am truly happy for my friends who are blessed with more. I'm just...jealous, I guess, and a little sad.

4 comments:

  1. Heather, thank you for being so honest about your feelings. I must admit I have become obsessed with having more children. I continually ask homeschool moms how many children they have and ask about the age span between their kids. My youngest is five and I start thinking about the age differences. I worry how I am already thirty and would like to have more. I worry about being able to conceive as easy as I once did.I worry about my weight ( I was told I was pre-diabetic awhile back) and the fact that I have other health issues. I have gone to Babies R' Us several times to just walk around, thinking of what I would buy if I were pregnant. I stare at pregnant womans belly and drool over babies. I feel like crying every time I hear that someone is pregnant and my heart sinks. I have become so obsessed with being pregnant. I know it is all in God's timing though and I need to trust Him and wait on Him. I am so very grateful for the two precious boys I have now and I like you, am very much content with the two that I have now. Rather than obsessing like I have been though I need to just take one day at a time and enjoy my boys that I have now. Still, it makes it really hard when my boys keep saying how they want me to have LOTS of kids. They really want a sister! God is a good God and I know He will give us what we need at the exact time when we need it. I am there with you Heather, I will pray for you...please pray for me as well.

    Thank you for posting this, my friend.

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  2. Oh, Heather! I so appreciate the pain that you are enduring. My husband and I tried for a LONG time to get pregnant, all the while I pined over the pregnancies of other women. I have relatives who breed like rabbits, so to speak, who are not good parents and we had a horrible time conceiving. After finding a very good fertility specialist, we got pregnant the first month. My hormone levels were low causing me not to become pregnant. After we had our child, we waited about 9 months and decided we would like to have another. Well, after 3 miscarriages - the last one was into my second trimester - we decided that I just couldn't take the emotions that went along with the shots, and the grief and sadness that went along with the miscarriages. Those tears from the depths of your soul, I understand. That pain in the pit of your stomach, I understand that too. I am sorry for all your pain. If you ever want to vent, or just feel overwhelmed by it all, please, please get in touch with me. I can offer a shoulder to cry on because I've been there. In the meantime, let me offer you lots and lots of hugs!!!

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  3. I am sorry you are struggling to conceive. It hurts when your heart longs for something and God is saying no (at least not in our timing). You question about what Hannah's prayer would be like today is an interesting one. I wrote a book that went through Hannah's story verse by verse and put it into today's context. Feel free to read the first chapter for free at HannahsHopeBook.com. I pray it will offer some encouragement.

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  4. Isn't God amazing and wonderful? :-)

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